BANNER ELK, N.C. – Rivalry games on the road are always tough, and the King University men's basketball team came out on top on Wednesday night at Lees-McRae College. The Tornado used a balanced attack and shot better than 50 percent in their 105-93 win over the Bobcats.
FINAL: King 105, Lees-McRae 93
LOCATION: Williams Gymnasium; Banner Elk, N.C.
RECORDS: King 15-5, 9-3 Conference Carolinas; Lees-McRae 14-6, 7-5 Conference Carolinas
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Tornado offense got off to a slow start but heated up as the half went on to shoot 53.1 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.
- On the defensive side, King slowed down the Bobcats late in the half, but Lees-McRae ended the back-and-forth half with a 50.0 field goal percentage.
- Lees-McRae connected on three triples to turn a 17-17 tie into a 27-21 lead with the 10-4 spurt.
- The Tornado later trailed 29-22 before James Brown started a 9-2 King spurt with a layup.
- Jordan Floyd evened the tally at 31 when he made a layup with eight minutes remaining in the half.
- The teams then went back-and-forth until the final minutes when Lees-McRae took a 49-44 lead with five straight free throws.
- However, Justin Frazier connected from long range before a Brown trifecta gave King a 50-49 lead at the break.
- King looked to gain control of the second half early, going on an 8-0 run fueled by a pair of Floyd trifectas.
- However, the Bobcats came right back with seven consecutive points to even the score at 58.
- King held the upper hand in the middle of the half as the score remained close and led 69-68 before Mike Salomon ignited the Tornado offense with a triple.
- Josh Releford followed with back-to-back three-point baskets and a Floyd layup forced a Lees-McRae timeout as King led 80-70.
- Floyd ended the 13-2 spurt with a pair of free throws that extended the King advantage to 82-70.
- King looked to put the game out of reach with another run, this time scoring nine straight points on a spurt started by another Salomon triple.
- Brandon Lamberth gave King their largest lead of the game at 93-76 with a fastbreak dunk as Frazier found him trailing the play with six minutes remaining.
- However, Jason Saintizaire got hot for the Bobcats, knocking down three consecutive three-point baskets.
- Lees-McRae later pulled within in 97-91 in the final two minutes, but the Tornado closed out the 105-93 win at the free throw line.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- King shot 53.0 percent from the floor and Floyd led six scorers in double figures with 25 points.
- Brown followed with 23 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
- Salomon added 14 points while Frazier chipped in with 13 points and seven assists.
- Lamberth scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds off the bench.
- Also off the bench, Releford chipped in with 10 points.
FOR THE FOES
- Saintizaire led Lees-McRae with 35 points while Kamil Williams added 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
- Quay Kimble scored 15 points while Jarick Haynes chipped in with 12 points.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- King has six scores in double figures for the second time this season. The other time came on November 18 in a win over Lee University.
- The 14 points for Lamberth set a career-high as he went 6-for-7 from the floor.
- King returns to the friendly confines of the Student Center Complex on Saturday when they take on Barton College at 4:00 p.m.
- Lees-McRae hosts Belmont Abbey College on Saturday afternoon.